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  • Writer's pictureTOM HENDY


I recently came across an amazing find for you fellow aesthete-lovers. A short film by Chris James called "After Beardsley" (1982). I had never even heard of this film and was amazed at its creativity and its impressive 'Beardsley-like' animation.

Most of all, I really like the film's premise and I really think that Chris James did a hauntingly beautiful job at reanimating Beardsley's character through the modern ages. Here is what he has to say about his film:

"The film After Beardsley attempts to depict today’s world through Beardsley’s eyes and in his drawing style…Beardsley is ‘resurrected’ from his death bed and begins to walk through time to the present. On his journey he witnesses the evolution of the car and of air and sea travel, then climbs a phallic mountain before descending into 20th century New York City.

[The] ghost of Aubrey Beardsley explores the urban jungle of New York City where, amongst other things, he sees Bob Dylan as a satyr sitting by an iconic 1959 Chevy, and Lenny Bruce being injected with heroin. He is then beckoned by Patti Smith (as Beardsley’s Messalina) into a hospital room where he finds himself hooked up to life support equipment. His hospital persona shows his ghost the horrors of the present day—overpopulation, pestilence starvation, and death. Via John Lennon, he sees the horrors of a nuclear winter.

The premise of the film is that, if Beardsley had been alive today instead of the 1890s, modern medicine would have kept him alive, but that, having had a glimpse of where the world was heading, he may have chosen to die anyway."

The film is below in three parts, the first video is just the pre-credit sequence so bear with the films:




The film is wonderfully atmospheric and certainly holds the eerie and disturbing quality that Beardsley often brought to his own work. I think aesthetically, the lines and patterns in the film are intriguing and the music really accompanies the film.

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